The case for code in the Salesforce developer certification

The Salesforce developer certification measures click skills or code skills. Here is a guide to knowing the code skills necessary to pass the Developer certification.

There are two tribes of Salesforce developers: those who click their way through ready-made tools that generate...

code and traditional coder types. Well, technically, there's a third tribe for app builders, but we'll get to that later.

In our previous detailed look at the Salesforce developer certification, we covered the click skills needed to pass the baseline exam. The second of the main Salesforce developer certifications -- Salesforce Certified Platform Developer II -- focuses more on Apex code development techniques.

The Advanced Developer Certification demonstrates Salesforce coding competency, according to the Salesforce developer site. You can create Apex triggers, custom Visualforce controllers, as well as integrate with external systems using APIs, migrate metadata and create unit tests. Developer I is a prerequisite for the Developer II credential.

Team code: The advanced degree

The following are measured as part of the Salesforce developer certification:

  • Salesforce fundamentals (5%)
    • Describe the capabilities of base system objects, such as sharing objects, history objects, metadata objects, multicurrency objects and Chatter objects.
    • Describe the different capabilities of and use cases for the various Salesforce development platforms (Heroku, App Cloud).
  • Data modeling and management (7%)
    • Describe how to design code that accommodates multilanguage, multicurrency, multilocale considerations.
    • Describe the implications of compound data types in Apex programming.
    • Describe the use cases for and benefits of external IDs.
    • Identify use cases for different types of custom metadata and custom settings, and describe how to implement solutions for those use cases.
  • Logic and process automation (33%)
    • Given a scenario, describe the implications of the order of execution of a record save.
    • Describe the interactions between Visualforce/Apex and Flow/Lightning Process Builder.
    • Given a scenario, identify the optimal programmatic or declarative solution.
    • Given a scenario, debug unexpected behavior caused by the save execution order.
    • Describe the Apex features available for error handling and maintaining transactional integrity.
    • Identify potential issues with inefficient code and mitigation techniques to avoid exceeding governor limits.
    • Describe the data return types for Salesforce Object Query Language and Salesforce Object Search Language queries, as well as their impact on variable assignment.
    • Describe the options, best practices and use cases for asynchronous execution.
    • Given a scenario, identify the appropriate dynamic Apex feature.
    • Given a scenario, describe when and how to use Apex managed sharing.
    • Describe the use cases for the various authentication techniques.
  • User interface (20%)
    • Given a scenario, describe how to use a standard set controller.
    • Describe the considerations when creating custom controllers and controller extensions.
    • Describe the techniques for using Visualforce to perform actions and partial page refreshes.
    • Describe the messaging techniques and best practices when displaying errors in user interfaces.
    • Describe techniques to maximize code reuse with Visualforce.
    • Describe use cases for JavaScript on a Visualforce page.
    • Given a set of requirements, describe the process for designing Lightning components.
  • Performance (7%)
    • Describe the common performance issues for user interfaces and the techniques to mitigate them.
    • Describe the considerations for query performance.
    • Integration (11%)
    • Describe how to expose Apex classes as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and REST web services.
    • Describe how to use system classes to integrate with SOAP- or REST-based web services.
    • Describe when and how to use metadata, streaming and analytics APIs to enhance Apex and Visualforce solutions.
  • Testing (12%)
    • Describe the best practices for unit testing in Apex.
    • Describe how to apply different techniques to create test data and responses.
    • Describe the implications of testing Visualforce controllers and controller extensions.
    • Describe various ways to execute tests and specify test execution options.
  • Debug and deployment tools (5%)
    • Given a scenario, identify the appropriate tool to analyze application performance profiles and to troubleshoot data and performance issues.
    • Given a scenario, identify the appropriate deployment tool

Developer II is definitely a more technical certification than Developer I. A thorough understanding of the platform and code is essential to pass the exam.

Certified platform app builder

It's worth noting that there is also a third option when it comes to the development path -- the Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder credential.

This certification is designed for those who can demonstrate skills and knowledge in designing, building and implementing custom applications using the declarative (team click) customization capabilities of the platform.

Concepts including design of the data model, user interface, business logic and security for custom applications are measured, along with mobile use application design, reports and dashboards, and the ability to deploy your custom applications for business users.

So, as you can see, the Salesforce developer certification path is quite a broad one, and covers both declarative and coding options. One option is not exclusive of the other and, in my opinion, getting a good, deep understanding of the platform through the administration credential, then the team click Developer I credential, will no doubt build an incredible foundation to the coding route.

There are different training options for all three of the certifications above, and they all offer tradeoffs: Trailhead will offer a great start, but will not cover all the details. Classes, however, will cost more time and money. It's up to you to choose your path.

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